Waste not want not


In responding to the universal quest to curtail dependency on fossil fuels and promote renewable energies, the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and GIZ, a German co-operation agency, are supporting municipalities in assessing their biogas potential from the sludge in their waste water treatment plants to generate electricity and reduce their electricity bills.

South Africa has opted to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels and promote renewable energies with the target of 17.8 GW by 2030. Municipalities have an important role to play in regard to waste-to-energy since waste service provision is the responsibility of local government.

In the programme, the two organisations will assess the potential for projects in nine pilot municipalities before sharing lessons learnt and proposed approaches to interested municipalities. The pilot municipalities are:

  • The City of Tshwane;
  • Maletswai Local Municipality;
  • Maluti A Phofung Local Municipality;
  • Umjindi Local Municipality;
  • George Local Municipality;
  • Tlokwe Local Municipality;
  • Newcastle Local Municipality;
  • Tzaneen Local Municipality; and
  • Khara Hais Local Municipality.

Aurelie Ferry, Renewable Energy Technical Advisor at SALGA, says the process started with a scoping study, looking at the potential development of a waste-to-energy project in the municipal waste water treatment plants. “The most promising municipalities – Umjindi, Maletswai and Tlokwe – were then selected for further evaluation of the feasibility of the identified project. In parallel, lessons learnt will be developed and shared with other municipalities and the elevant national departments."

The SALGA and GIZ partnership will assist municipalities in initiating the recovery of energy from waste materials with a focus on anaerobic digestion of sludge in waste water treatment plants to produce biogas, which can then be used to generate electricity.

A workshop was held on 17 July 2014, in Johannesburg Northern Works Waste Water Treatment Plant to present the results of the studies. The group had the opportunity to visit a 1 MW biogas plant, which has been implemented by City of Johannesburg.

Despite the identified challenges of establishing viable waste-to-energy projects based at waste water treatment plants, the study indicates that there is definite viability to implement such projects in secondary cities and assessment documents are being developed and will be disseminated to interested municipalities.

(Source: South African Local Government Association)



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